Zinc retards macular degeneration

New Orleans, Louisiana: Vision loss from macular degeneration (an eye disorder caused by insufficient flow of blood to the retina) may be alleviated by the use of a daily supplement of zinc, reports David A. Newsome, M.D., of the Louisiana State University School of Medicine.

The study did not prove conclusively that the mineral could aid every person suffering from the condition, but enough positive results encouraged Dr. Newsome to endorse daily use of 100 milligrams of zinc sulfate taken with food.

There is no known cause of the condition, nor has any drug been proven effective in slowing down the process of degeneration. People with the condition usually retain good peripheral vision but usually require devices to enhance their ability to enjoy central vision.

Laser surgery has been known to benefit only a small minority who develop additional complications.

Although reported side effects were minimal for those who participated in Dr. Newsome's study, he urges caution in using higher potencies of zinc. Overdosage has been linked to anemia and worsening of cardiovascular disease.

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